CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman, who received public backlash for his insensitive George Floyd comment on Twitter, has resigned.
“I’m stepping down as CEO of CrossFit, Inc., and I have decided to retire. On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members,” Glassman said in a statement. “Since I founded CrossFit 20 years ago, it has become the world’s largest network of gyms. All are aligned in offering an elegant solution to the vexing problem of chronic disease. Creating CrossFit and supporting its affiliates and legions of professional trainers has been a labor of love.”
Glassman continued, “Those who know me know that my sole issue is the chronic disease epidemic. I know that CrossFit is the solution to this epidemic and that CrossFit HQ and its staff serve as the stewards of CrossFit affiliates worldwide. I cannot let my behavior stand in the way of HQ’s or affiliates’ missions. They are too important to jeopardize.”
The backlash Glassman faced stemmed from a reply he made to a Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation tweet on June 4 that stated, “Racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response, wherever they occur.” Glassman responded: “It’s FLOYD-19.”
On June 8, Glassman issued a public apology.
“I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake,” Glassman said via the @CrossFit handle. “Floyd is a hero in the black community and not just a victim. I should have been sensitive to that and wasn’t. I apologize for that. I was trying to stick it to the @IHME_UW for their invalidated models resulting in needless, economy-wrecking, life-wrecking lockdown, and when I saw they were announcing modeling a solution to our racial crisis, I was incredulous, angry, and overly emotional. Involving George Floyd’s name in that effort was wrong.”
Glassman’s statement continued, “It’s our hope that his murder catalyzes real change resulting in a level playing field for our black brothers and sisters. Please hear me when I say, we stand by our community to fight for justice. I care about you, our community, and I am here for you.”
By then, however, it was too late, and CrossFit began to lose its partners — including Reebok. The athletic brand said June 7 that it was ending its partnership with the organization.
“Our partnership with CrossFit HQ comes to an end later this year. Recently, we have been in discussions regarding a new agreement, however, in light of recent events, we have made the decision to end our partnership with CrossFit HQ,” Reebok said in a statement emailed to FN. “We will fulfill our remaining contractual obligations in 2020. We owe this to the CrossFit Games competitors, fans and the community.”
The statement continued, “What doesn’t change is our commitment and dedication to CrossFitters and the passionate CrossFit community. We’re so thankful for the strong bonds we’ve created with coaches, box owners and athletes around the world over the past 10 years. We want to especially thank Dave Castro, Nicole Carroll, Andy Stumpf, Steve Weiss and Jimi Letchford, who were instrumental in ensuring Reebok was welcomed by the community, so that we could do our part to help more people improve their lives through fitness.”
Glassman’s comment were made as protests were ramping up worldwide over the death of Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.